30th June 2023
Read - Mark 12:1-12
Message Alan Burke
Imagine owing a house or a pice of land and you have it let out, but the tenant abuses it. That is what we have here in Mark 12, we’ve already established how this parable is directed towards the chief priests, the scribes and the elders who are there and no one is in any doubt of that fact. The tenants beat some of the servants, others they killed and as we get to v6 with no-one left to send that the owner sends his son, whom he loved. The owner believes that they will respect him. What we have here is the owner sending his son who has legal claim on the vineyard, the vineyard is the sons, it is not the tenants. While the servants were sent as messengers the son is being sent as the heir of the vineyard, he goes as one with authority for it is his.
But then the tenants conspire together to kill the son, and when they have killed him they threw him out of the the vineyard. The last piece of information there is insightful for those who were not buried and to a Jew it would have been understood that this man, the son, was as a result cursed by God. The tenants mistreated and killed many of the servants that were sent and finally kill the son that was sent.
In essence this parable that Jesus tells to them is an account of the history of Israel. Jesus was speaking to the chief priests, the scribes and the elders and they would have heard his words and it would have brought back to their own minds what they indeed intended to do. If you look back just a few verses, to the events that happened the day before in verse 18, where we are told; “The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching (11:18).
Jesus here was prophetically speaking of what indeed would come about. But notice the parable doesn’t stop with the death of the son, for the owner of the vineyard unlike the prophecy that the Lord spoke through the prophet Isaiah where the owner came and destroyed the vineyard, this time the owner would come and kill the tenants and give the vineyard to others. What here is being alluded to is the destruction of the temple (AD 70), the sacrificial system, all that the chief priests, the scribes and the elders held dear would become worthless and the vineyard would be given to the Gentles, tenants who will seek to give the Lord fruit.
Throughout the history of his people, God gave opportunities, many more than many of us would have given them if we are honest about it. What we have is the repeating cycle of opportunity given and opportunity rejected. Instead of taking the opportunities they were given more often than not they ignored them, they continued to carry on regardless. Notice that God’s patients here in this parable doesn’t go on forever with his people, there comes a time when the opportunities are gone and what comes is judgment. The world is slightly different, they are not just apathetic they are hostile to the gospel, they have rejected the rule of God and every time they hear it or they see it lived in his people they hate it and they desire to silence his word and his people. They live with no regard for the Lord or his judgement, yet their defiance just like that of the tenants in the vineyard will only lead to judgement. Our entire lives are the vineyard itself, that is, that our lives everything we have we should be treating it like we’re the tenants, what we have been given is the vineyard, everything we have is God’s, that breath in your lungs, God’s, that strength in your hands, that roofs over our heads, that money in the bank or under the mattress, all of it has been given to you by God and the question is how are you using it, how are you honouring the Lord with those things, or are you trying to keep what is yours from the Lord who has given you everything?
Q86 What is faith in Jesus Christ?
Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, (Heb. 10:39) whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation as he is offered to us in the gospel. (John 1:12, Isa. 26:3–4, Phil. 3:9, Gal. 2:16)